WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The White House has indicated it will accept benchmarks for the Iraqi government as part of an Iraq war-funding bill being negotiated with the U.S. Congress.
The acceptance of the benchmarks is a sign President George Bush is taking a new look at the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group despite Friday's rejection of the latest proposal by Democratic leaders, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Proposals from the panel also included increased regional diplomacy in the Middle East. Next week, the United States will hold talks on Iraq with Iran, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has traveled to the region for diplomatic talks.
Bush was polite but dismissive of the group's recommendations in December. The panel was led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former U.S. Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, D-Ind.
"They are coming our way," Hamilton told the newspaper.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress planned to introduce legislation that would make the study group's 79 recommendations the U.S. government's official policy, the Post reported.
"My sense among Republican senators is we know very well that the current course is not a sustainable course over a longer period of time," sponsor Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told the Post.